Your Guide to Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey first opened to the public in 1955 and has welcomed visitors from all over the globe. There are 22 rooms that you can experience, which house one of the most significant private art collections in the world.

As you explore the many individual rooms of Woburn Abbey, you will also discover 18th-century French and English furniture, magnificent silver and gold collections, in the underground vaults, and a marvellous range of porcelain and many privately collected items treasured by generations of the Russell family.

These captivating rooms and fascinating antiques show a personal side to a public family that has been instrumental in many significant periods of English history.  


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford

400 years of history

The Abbey has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, one of England's most powerful families, since the 1620s. It is currently the home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford and their children. Russell family members have included Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Lord High Admirals and philosophers over the centuries and provide a direct link to the events of the past that shaped the England of today. 

> Our Family Tree


Image for Woburn Abbey Today One of our views of Venice by Canaletto

Over 250 works of art

View one of the most outstanding collections of art works on public display. These include:

  • The largest private collection of Venetian views painted by Canaletto on public view
  • The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
  • Artists such as Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Reynolds, and Van Dyck
  • Artworks by Queen Victoria and Richard Stone

> Art and the Collection


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The Grotto

22 Rooms To Discover

The splendid rooms include:

  • The unique Grotto which dates from the 1630s
  • The State Apartments with original 18th-century architecture
  • The Holland Library which is one of the largest private libraries with an extensive collection of natural history books
  • Underground vaults housing the family's gold and silver collection
  • The Chinese Room with its decorative wallpaper

> Must See Treasures


Image for Woburn Abbey Today Woburn Abbey is an example of Palladian architecture

At The Heart of an English Palladian Home

The Abbey has been at the centre of social and political history which includes tales of political reform, Royal State visits, imprisonment, beheading, grand tours, love affairs and more. Famous house guests have included monarchs, politicians, leading naturalists, famous designers, architects and adventurers. 

> Our Timeline


Events & Exhibitions

Image for Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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Open to the public between 23rd March and 28th October 2018, the new exhibition explores the fascinating relationship between Repton and one of his greatest clients.
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Summer Holiday Children's Activities

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There's plenty to keep younger visitors entertained at Woburn Abbey during the summer holidays, two trails, crafts and games!
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National Afternoon Tea Week

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Renowned speaker Gillian Perry will talk you through the social history of Afternoon Tea. This English custom was popularised by the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria at Woburn Abbey.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Bat Walk

This event has now sold out but we have more dates available.
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Life in a Noble Household

Discover what it was like to work in a great Ducal household from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Terrarium Workshop

Bedford Estates Head Gardener, Tom Abbott will show you how to create a terrarium which you will then get to take home.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Woburn Abbey triathlon

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Now in its eleventh year, the Woburn Abbey Triathlon - organised by registered charity tri for life, and delivery partner, Human Race events - has raised over £2.4m for its charity partners.
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Woburn Abbey Honey Festival

Join us in a celebration of everything honey, set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey and Gardens.
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Dining Like A Duke

From the earliest times, the consumption of food has evolved from the basic requirements to survive into one of the grandest expressions of wealth and style.
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Adam Frost: Intro into Garden Design

This event has now sold out - please check back at a later date as we are planning similar events to this in the future.
Image for NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

This exclusive Evening Champagne Reception will be hosted by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne and canapés. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar.
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Off Road Deer Park Tours

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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Treasury of Trees Walking Tour

Join us for a guided walk in our Quercetum and Pinetum areas of the gardens to discover our treasury of trees.
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Treasures of the Library & Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a private view of some of the treasures housed within Woburn Abbey’s extensive library collection.
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Brunch with Queen Victoria

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen and her 1841 visit to Woburn Abbey. Enjoy a delicious lunch in the Duchess' Tearoom followed by an in-depth talk with time to explore the Abbey at your leisure.
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Housekeeper's Know-how

Ever wondered what it takes to preserve and care for a great stately home and its treasures? While we’re closed for the winter, our housekeeping team invites you behind-the-scenes for an exclusive glimpse into what it takes to complete Woburn Abbey’s annual ‘deep-clean’
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2019

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Early Bird rates can now be booked on-line for the Gardeners' Garden Show.